Kidney Transplant: An Alternative Treatment for Kidney Failure

29 September 2021

Kidney transplant is arguably the best treatment option for kidney failure. A transplanted kidney can almost completely replace a kidney which has lost its function, allowing the patient to lead a normal life.

Dr Rosnawati Yahya, Consultant Nephrologist at Sunway Medical Centre, said a patient with only 5% kidney function can be restored to 50% after a kidney transplant, which is sufficient for him to return to normalcy.

Kidney failure, also known is end stage renal disease, is when both kidneys lose their function and are unable to remove excess waste and toxins from the body, resulting in a build-up of toxins in the body. The inability to urinate and remove excess water causes waste and toxins to accumulate in the body, resulting in oedema in the legs and knees, and fluid in the lungs.

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is when kidney function gradually fails over months or years, while Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) is the sudden loss of kidney function in a matter of hours to weeks. CKD can be completely asymptomatic until the late stages when symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, lack of appetite and unusual fatigue presents itself.

Dr Rosnawati said a kidney transplant can completely replace a failing kidney including the ability to remove waste and toxins from the body without having problems with oedema, fluid in the lungs and breathing difficulties as well as producing hormones that the body needs such as erythropoietin and vitamin D.

The advantage of kidney transplantation is to prolong the patient’s life and improve quality of life. It is a less common treatment compared to haemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. This is because there are not enough organ donors and patients have to rely on living donors.

Dr Rosnawati said to increase the number of kidney transplant for more people to lead normal lives, more living donors need to come forward to encourage more kidney transplants to be performed by public and private hospitals.

She urged people who have a family member on dialysis to contact and consult their doctor to learn about the benefits and risks of kidney transplant and kidney donation.

“Donating your kidney to a loved one will make a huge difference to their life,” she expressed.

Source: Sin Chew Sabah